Maryland Tonic Bitters – Henry Litz


Maryland Tonic Bitters – Henry Litz

18 April 2015

Apple-Touch-IconABob Ford from the Baltimore Antique Bottle Club, posted this picture above of a Maryland Tonic Bitters on the Facebook bitters bottles page. I like bitters, I like aqua bottles, I like window shots and I like the snow in the background, so “all is good” here. So what about this bitters bottle that I have never seen before, up until now?

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

M 45

Manufactured by Verona Chemical Co., Wholesale Druggists, Baltimore, Maryland
6 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1 3/8 (4 7/8)
Oval, Aqua, NSC, Tooled lip, 1 sp, Extremely rare
Label seen on unlettered bottle of same measurements

Looking online, I see that a Henry Litz, from Baltimore, Maryland filed and obtained patent number 289,673 with the United States Patent Office on December 4, 1893 (see below). His Tonic Bitters consisted of high wines, distilled water, hops, unripe oranges, zedoary-root, ginger-root, cardamum seeds, star anise seeds, bitter orangepeel, gentian root, cape aloes, myrrh, anisated liquor of ammonia, and tincture of nux vomica.


Patent for Maryland Tonic Bitters by Henry Litz of Baltimore, Maryland, dated December 4, 1883, Filed July 19, 1883.

Henry Litz

Henry Litz was born in Hochstadt, Germany on 01 June 1833. His father was Franz Josef Litz (1799-1882) and his mother was Cunegund Dressell (1801-1838), both born in Prussia. Mr. Litz immigrated to America in 1847. In 1862, Henry Litz married Elizabeth Heggelmeier (1836-1927) and they had a number of children including Mary, Catharine, Barbara, Elizabeth, George, Henry and Frantz Litz. The sons would later join Henry in business.

In 1850, Henry is working with his father Franz, as a cooper in Baltimore. By 1870 or so, Henry has become a brewer and runs a lager beer saloon at 132 Saratoga Street in Baltimore City. By 1885, he is listed as making hop bitters. As he applied for his Tonic Bitters patent in 1883, this would be his Maryland Tonic Bitters. He is now using 134 1/2 Saratoga Street as an address. George and Henry, his brothers, are working as clerks. This goes on up until about 1893 or so. Henry Litz died in Baltimore on 08 September 1903.

The Maryland Tonic Bitters is extremely rare. This may be the only recorded example. Apparently there has been a sighting of a labeled example that is not embossed. Would love to see this. According to Ring & Ham, the bitters contents was manufactured by Verona Chemical Co., Wholesale Druggists, Baltimore, Maryland. I see no reference to this.

Select Listings:

1833: Henry Litz birth on 01 June 1833 in Hochstadt, Germany. Father Franz Josef Litz (1799-1882), Mother Cunegund Dressell (1801-1838).
1862: Henry Litz marries Elizabeth Heggelmeier (1836-1927).
1870: Henry Litz, age, birth 33, abt 1837 in Bavaria, Bayern, Home in 1870: Baltimore Ward 10, Baltimore, Maryland, Household members: Elizabeth Litz, 33, Mary Litz, 15, Catharine Litz, 11, Barbara Litz, 9, Elizabeth Litz, 7, George Litz, 5, Henry Litz, 3, Frantz Litz – United States Federal Census
1870-1871: Franz Litz, cooper, 132 Saratoga, Henry Litz, beer, 132 Saratoga – Woods Baltimore City Directory
1874: Mayor’s Message to the Members of the City Council, 1874
N0. 134, three-story brick dwelling and lager beer saloon owned and occupied by Henry Litz. 
No. 136, one-story brick, with two-story back building’ owned by Henry Litz ; insured in the German ; occupied by Adler as a cigar store.
1878-1880: Henry Litzbeer, 132 Saratoga, Frank Litz, brewer, 132 Saratoga – Baltimore City Directory
1880: Henry Litz, age 46, barkeeper, Birth year: abt 1834 in Bavaria, Home in 1880, Baltimore City, Maryland, married, Elizabeth Litz, Father’s name: Frank Litz, father’s birthplace: Bavaria, Mother’s Birthplace: Bavaria – United States Federal Census
1881: Henry Litzbeer, 132 Saratoga – Baltimore City Directory
1883: United States Patent 289,673. See above. Tonic Bitters.- Henry Litz, Baltimore, Md. Consists of high wines, distilled water, hops, unripe oranges, zedoary-root, ginger-root, cardamum seeds, star anise seeds, bitter orangepeel, gentian root, cape aloes, myrrh, anisated liquor of ammonia, and tincture of nux vomica.
1883: Henry Litzbeer, 132 Saratoga, George H. Litz (same) – Baltimore City Directory
1885: Henry Litz, hop bitters, 134 1/2 Saratoga, Henry G. Litz, clerk, bds 134 1/2 Saratoga – Baltimore City Directory
1886: Henry Litzbitters, 134 1/2 Saratoga – Baltimore City Directory
1887: Henry Litz, herb bitters, 221 W. Saratoga, 134 1/2 Saratoga, George H. Litz, clerk, address same, Henry G. Litz, clerk (address same) – Baltimore City Directory
1890-1893: Henry Litz, agent, 1829 Druid Hill av, George H. Litz, clerk, address same, Henry G. Litz, driver (address same) – Baltimore City Directory
1900: Henry Litz, age: 66, birth date: June 1833, birthplace: Germany, Home in 1900: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland, Immigration year: 1847, Spouse’s name: Elizabeth Litz, Marriage year: 1862 – Baltimore City Directory
1903: Henry Litz death on 08 September 1903 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Read more about Baltimore bitters:

Zu Zu Bitters – Zu Zu Medicine Company, Baltimore, Maryland

Schroeder’s German Bitters – Baltimore

Dr. William S. Love’s Vegetable Elixir – Baltimore

Gouley’s Vegetable Bitters – Baltimore

The Robinson & Lord Figural Barrel – Baltimore

J. M. Laroque’s Liquid Anti Bilious Bitters – Baltimore

Granger Bitters – Baltimore – Boykin Carmer & Co.

Wheeler’s Berlin Bitters – Baltimore

Looking at the Morning Star Bitters – Baltimore

Baltimore’s Iron Bitters – Brown Chemical Company

Dr. DeGurley’s Herb Bitters in the news again

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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